Profiles of the blockchain industry: Charlie Lee
The Profiles of the blockchain industry series examines pioneers and leaders of the blockchain industry, with the hope of inspiring you to find your place in this nascent realm. It’s a world that is full of potential and is leaping forward through the innovations of key figures. What is your role in this new frontier? The possibilities are infinite.
The Profiles series began with the mysterious figure of Satoshi Nakamoto. Today, we continue with a key presence in the blockchain industry since the early days of the evolving technology, arriving on the scene at a time when new variations of Bitcoin were all the rage.
Charlie Lee ventured into blockchain following a career with Google, working there as a software engineer on projects like Youtube Mobile and ChromeOS. Like many in the cryptocurrency field, Lee had a strong interest not only in computer sciences but also in economics. With this combination of interests, it was only natural for Lee to pursue the concept of creating a unique cryptocurrency that would address some of the limitations of Bitcoin such as its relatively slow block transaction time.
Charlie Lee’s first foray into creating a unique cryptocurrency – Fairbix – was pretty much a failure. Fairbix was created with significant problems in its software design that left it vulnerable to 51% attacks and was criticized for being pre-mined by a few select miners who then unfairly held a disproportionately large portion of the market cap for the coin.
Soon after this failure, Charlie Lee launched the much-improved Litecoin. Due to the open-source nature of Bitcoin, Lee was able to copy source code from the Bitcoin blockchain and then adjust it as necessary to make the improvements he wanted. He reduced the block transaction time by using a different algorithm called Scrypt and increased the maximum circulation of the coin to 84 million – four times the maximum supply of Bitcoin’s 21 million.
To this day, Litecoin serves as a silver to Bitcoin’s gold, being relatively cheaper, more plentiful, and comparatively faster and easier to use in everyday transactions. It remains one of the top cryptocurrencies in the market in terms of transaction usage, volume, and market cap. Litecoin continues to be a reliable, secure, and trusted currency with considerable hashing power, protecting it from security vulnerabilities such as 51% attacks.
In late 2017, Charlie Lee stepped back from directly holding large quantities of Litecoin due to what he said could be perceived as a “conflict of interest” (source). Remaining actively involved in the cryptocurrency industry, Lee has proven in recent months that he is just as dedicated as ever to the further development of Litecoin and cryptocurrency technology in general.